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  • Are you a year round school?
    Yes, we are a year round school. Families have the option to enroll in the 10 month academic program topically running from August to June. Year round includes the summer months. Summer sessions are available to families for weekly sessions if needed.
  • What is required to hold a spot for my child?
    If you have not already done so, we ask that you schedule a tour and bring your child along to visit the classrooms and meet the teachers. A deposit equivalent to one months tuition is required to hold your child’s spot. The deposit will be applied to the last month of attendance or carried over to the following year’s deposit if your child will be returning.
  • Do you offer any enrichment programs?
    We offer several enrichment programs that are included in the curriculum. We currently offer Spanish, music, and yoga enrichment classes. The enrichment classes are included in the tuition.
  • What ages do you serve?
    We serve children ages 16 months to 6 years old. We offer a Kindergarten program for third year students.
  • What is your enrollment policy?
    We would prefer that the child start at the beginning of the year school so they can acclimate along side their peers, but we understand that it is not always possible. With that in mind, we offer open enrollment throughout the school year.
  • Why do you call yourself a preschool versus a daycare?
    We are an academic program that follows the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori. We follow her method even with the youngest of our students. We take pride in providing an authentic Montessori environment for our students and we ask that you understand the method prior to enrolling as we work together with the parents to ensure the students are set up for success. We are not considered a daycare as we do not provide just child care and/or babysitting for children. The children follow a curriculum and are learning throughout the day. There is a lot involved in a Montessori classroom. If you are seeking only child care for your child, our program may not be the best fit for you. There are expectations that children arrive to class on time, families and students participate in classroom activities, and we do not offer a drop in program. Teachers plan for each child individually and the program is most beneficial for those who stay through their 3rd year in the primary classroom (age 3 to 6). We ask that parents consider keeping their children all the way through to their third Kindergarten year as this is the year where all their handwork culminates and they exhibit an explosion in the areas of math and language. Children tend to start reading, writing, and doing advanced math problems during this 3rd year.
  • What ages do Montessori schools serve?
    Currently, most Montessori programs begin at the Early Childhood level (for children ages 2.5 – 6 years). However there are also programs for infants and toddlers (birth – age 3), Elementary aged children (ages 6 – 12), and Secondary students (ages 12 – 18). Some schools refer to the first part of the Secondary level as Middle School (ages 12 – 15) and the second part as High School (ages 15 – 18). At Virginia Montessori Academy we serve children ages 16 months to 6 years old.
  • I’ve heard that Montessori teachers don’t really teach. Is this true? If so, what do they do?
    When you observe a Montessori teacher at work you may be surprised! You will not see her standing in front of the classroom teaching the same lesson to the entire class, because the Montessori curriculum is individualized to the needs, interests, and learning style of each child. Often you will find her on the floor, working with an individual child. With the older children, she may be giving a small group lesson, or demonstrating a lesson or activity that the students will then complete on their own. One of the many roles of the Montessori teacher is to observe each child and the classroom community as a whole and make adaptations to the environment and lesson-planning as needed to support each child’s development. As the Montessori teacher observes, he is determining when and how to introduce a new challenging lesson to a student, and when to review a previous lesson if a skill has not yet been mastered. While a Montessori student may choose her activities on any given day, her decisions are limited by the materials and activities in each area of the curriculum that the teacher has prepared and presented to her. The teacher’s observations inform each child’s personalized learning plan and allow each child to move through the curriculum at an appropriate pace and level of challenge.
  • Do Montessori teachers follow a curriculum?
    Montessori schools teach the same basic skills as traditional schools, and offer a rigorous academic program. Most of the subject areas are familiar—such as math, science, history, geography, and language—but they are presented through an integrated approach that weaves separate strands of the curriculum together. While studying a map of Africa, for example, students may explore the art, history, and inventions of several African nations. This may lead them to examine ancient Egypt, including hieroglyphs and their place in the history of writing. And the study of the pyramids is a natural bridge to geometry! This approach to curriculum demonstrates the interrelatedness of all things. It also allows students to become thoroughly immersed in a topic—and to give their curiosity full rein. Is it true that Montessori students are free to do whatever they want, and at their own pace? Dr. Maria Montessori observed that children are more motivated to learn when working on something of their own choosing, and at their own unique pace. A Montessori student may choose her focus of learning on any given day, but her decision is limited by the materials and activities—in each area of the curriculum—that her teacher has prepared and presented to her. 
 Beginning at the Elementary level, students typically set learning goals and create personal work plans under their teacher’s guidance.
  • Why do Montessori teachers encourage my young child to be independent?
    Helping a child develop independence and self-sufficiency is a hallmark of Montessori programs. Children who are independent and make self-directed choices develop self confidence and experience pride when they accomplish their goals. In the Montessori classroom, young children are supported to become autonomous in caring for their personal needs and in taking care of their classroom environment. Children are given freedom of movement and choice over their activities in the classroom and are encouraged and supported to “do it for themselves.” Montessori students are self-confident learners who believe in their own abilities to accomplish a task. This confidence and self-reliance sets the stage for all future learning.
  • If children work at their own pace, don't they fall behind?
    Although students are free to work at their own pace, they’re not going it alone. The Montessori teacher closely observes each child and provides materials and activities that advance his learning by building on skills and knowledge already gained. This gentle guidance helps each child master the challenge at hand—and protects him from moving on before he’s ready, which is often what causes children to “fall behind.” Each child is challenged appropriately in each area of the curriculum to ensure that skills and competencies are fully developed and that the child is able to pursue his own unique interests.
  • How well do Montessori students do compared to students in non-Montessori schools?
    A growing body of research comparing Montessori students to those in traditional schools suggests that in academic subjects, Montessori students perform as well as or better— academically and socially—than their non-Montessori peers. These benefits grow as children have more experience in a Montessori environment. Most Montessori schools report that their students are typically accepted into the high schools and colleges of their choice. And many successful graduates cite their years at Montessori when reflecting on the important influences in their life.
  • Why are Montessori schools all work and no play?
    This is a common misunderstanding of Montessori education. Dr. Montessori realized that children’s play is their work—their effort to master their own bodies and environment—and out of respect she used the term “work” to describe all their classroom activities. Montessori students work hard, but they don’t experience it as drudgery; rather, it’s an expression of their natural curiosity and desire to learn. They engage in these activities with joy and focus—intent on mastering new skills independently!
  • What are the benefits of Montessori?
    The emphasis on independent learning, for example, and the warm, supportive community— continue to be important at each stage of development as children grow into lifelong learners and responsible citizens of the world.
  • How many students are typically in a Montessori class?
    Unlike some private schools, which strive for very small classes, Montessori values the lessons of community that can happen when the size of the class is somewhat larger. A larger, multi age class can encourage students to rely on themselves and their peers as resources, rather than going directly to a teacher for support first. Montessori classes at the Early Childhood level and above might include 20 – 30 students whose ages span 3 years. All members of the community benefit from this configuration. Older students are proud to act as role models; younger ones feel supported and gain confidence about the challenges ahead. And all children develop their independence as they problem solve with their peers within their classroom community. Classes for infants and toddlers are smaller, with typically 10 – 15 children. Often the teacher to-child ratio for this youngest age group is set by state licensing standards.

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